A Writer's (& Editor's) Guide to Keeping Historical Fiction Free of Common Anachronisms, Errors, & Myths [Third Edition]
A #1 Amazon Bestseller in Fiction Writing
This is not a book on how to write historical fiction. It is a book on how not to write historical fiction.
If you love history and you’re hard at work on your first historical
novel, but you’re wondering if your medieval Irishmen would live on
potatoes, if your 17th-century pirate would use a revolver, or if your
hero would be able to offer Marie-Antoinette a box of chocolate bonbons .
(The answer to all these is “Absolutely not!”)
. . . then Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders is the book for you.
Medieval Underpants will guide you through the factual
mistakes that writers of historical fiction—both beginners and
professionals—most often make, and show you how to avoid them. From
fictional characters crossing streets that wouldn’t exist for another
sixty (or two thousand) years, to South American foods on ancient Roman
plates, to 1990s slang in the mouths of 1940s characters, Susanne Alleyn
exposes the often hilarious, always painful goofs that turn up most
frequently in fiction set in the past.
Alleyn stresses the hazards to writers of assuming too much about
details of life in past centuries, providing numerous examples of
mistakes that could easily have been avoided. She also explores
commonly-confused topics such as the important difference between the
British titles “Lord John Smith” and “John, Lord Smith” and why they’re
not interchangeable, and provides simple guidelines for getting them
right. In a wide assortment of chapters including Food and Plants;
Travel; Guns; Money; Hygiene; Dialogue; Attitudes; Research; and, of
course, Ladies' Underpants (there weren't any), she offers tips on how to avoid errors and
anachronisms while continually reminding writers of the necessity of
meticulous historical research.
"I’ve been writing historical fiction for several decades, and I found
this book immediately useful. I wish it had been published long ago.
Written with humour, knowledge and common sense. An essential!"
--Sandra Gulland, author, Mistress of the Sun and The Josephine B. Trilogy
"The single most useful book I've read on the craft of historical
fiction. It's presented in a compulsively readable style that made it
hard to put down. Riveting and beautifully logical, the book's mantra is
never to assume you know something."
--Jessica Knauss, author, Law and Order in Medieval Spain: Alfonsine Legislation and the Cantigas de Santa María.
"What a great idea, and so well done! ... It's so easy to slip in an
object not yet invented or read right over a term that shouldn't be
there. ... Best of all is the practical information and advice for
avoiding errors that newbies need to consider and experienced writers
need to remember. I can't say enough about this book. It was helpful;
it was entertaining; it was original. Great job!"
--Peg Herring, author, The Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries (historical) and The Dead Detective Mysteries
Buy any Spyderwort Press paperback new at Amazon.com and get the Kindle version for 99 cents or free via Amazon's Kindle MatchBook program. This offer is retroactive—if
you already bought the paperback new at Amazon, you can still get the
free or discounted eBook for your Kindle. Or buy the paperback as a gift for a friend
and keep the eBook for yourself.
Trade Paperback and eBook May 2015 (3rd edition) 230 pp
An OAQ (Occasionally Asked Question): I have a previous edition of your Medieval Underpants. I see it's now in the Third Edition. Should I buy the new edition?
Susanne's Answer: That depends upon which edition you currently have. If you have the First Edition (2012), then yes, definitely; I've added lots of new material—often at the suggestion of readers—and an entire chapter since then (and have corrected a few errors I made). If you have the Second Edition (2013), then you may not need to shell out for the third unless you are obsessive about being totally up-to-date.
If you are a Kindle owner and bought your copy at Amazon, if you can figure out how to delete your current edition from your device and download the newest, updated version, go right ahead. If not (I've never been able to make that work), you will have to totally delete your copy of Medieval Underpants from your Kindle account/library and then purchase the new edition as a new book.
The unabridged bibliography: Hundreds of titles of particular interest to the writer of hiistorical fiction - Free for all to copy or print
Do you prefer to support your local
bookstore? Stores should be able to order the paperback via the usual
wholesale distribution channels, or provide a copy in minutes with an Espresso Book Machine, if they don't have the book on the